The dull doom of impending marriage at his back and a reticent royal at his side, remarkable minstrel Gant-o’-the-Lute is off in search of adventure, and you can be sure he finds it – complete with much music, magicked maidens, and a dangerous power so great, Lute might for once find himself outmatched.
The Song Caster Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales
<> ~ <> ~ <>
An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast; a princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell; bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk – all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.
You’ve heard the stories – of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball; of frog princes, and swan princes, and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea. Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.
Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.
Danielle E. Shipley – author of fairy tales retold, legends reimagined, and other expressions of wishful thinking. In the past, she’s worked as a librarian in a kindergarten, a Towne Crier in a Renaissance Faire, and a butler in Germany. In another universe, she’s a tenor on Broadway, a wandering minstrel, or at the very least a Dark Lord singing about world domination. Born, raised, and homeschooled in the Chicago area, she now resides primarily in realms of her own making, along with her crazy crew of character children. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make. *She also doesn't hang out on Goodreads very often. Find her on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook*
The Song Caster is yet another strong entry into Danielle Shipley’s Wilderhark Tales series, and one which I’m very glad to have read. As a matter of fact, I think this is now my favourite book in the whole series. The book gets remarkbly tense in places without ever ditching the tradition Wilderhark-style humour, resulting in a read unlike anything else I have seen this year.
The first of the wo protagonists is none other than Gant o’ the Lute, one of my favourite characters the last time around. I was thrilled to find he’d be having a bigger role her and the result is even better than I’d expected. Faced with the prospect of marriage, Gant decides on one last adventure before settling down into a (relatively) normal life. Over the quest that follows, Gant’s character is fleshed out beautifully, with a huge character flaw brought to light which was only vaguely apparent in the past.
The second main character, however, is what provides this book’s masterstroke. Shipley takes a bit character from book 2 – one that I (and I imagine, most people) had forgotten about – and gradually shapes him into an individual we can truly root for. I really enjoyed seeing this character develop over time, and sincerely hope we’ll be seeing more of him in future books.
The writing is as good as ever, of course, with a good quick flow and nary a word wasted. And speaking of writing: I don’t recall seeing a single typo or grammatical goof anywhere in this. Given that this is an indie book – and an early copy of one at that – that is doubly impressive.
Four books in, The WIlderhark Tales remains an absolute gem of a series. I eagerly look forward to the next installment.
*I recieved a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. *
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed The Song Caster. I loved the narrative, the characters and the writing. The fairytale is familiar in the sense that our hero, Lute, must help a lesser protagonist (Benedeck) find what his heart desires and secure his fate at the risk of Lute’s own neck and future. The fact that Lute agrees to set out on this adventure speaks volumes of his character. I also love the way Shipley develops Benedeck’s character into this wonderful individual who truly deserves his share of happiness.
I really enjoyed the storyline stuffed with overbearing parents, magical instruments and yes…a dragon. There is humor and plot twists all mixed with a wonderful touch of romance. I found myself rooting for the characters and I was completely satisfied with the ending. It’s a sweet story, clean and fun, and suitable for all members of the family.
My only complaint about this story was a lack of development of Viralei’s character. I wished she had shown up sooner in the story and would have loved to have seen her as a more adventurous and daring type. I do like than none of Shipley’s characters are useless. There are no “walk-ons”, and everyone has a purpose and place.
The Song Caster is well-crafted and an excellent addition to the Wilderhark Tales. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a fun, adventurous fantasy read with a happy ever after fairytale ending. A solid 4 stars.
*I received an ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. *
Well if Miss Shipley hasn't gone and done it again. And by luck, she's written an entire novella about my favorite character, Gant-O'-the-Lute! Imagine how happy this reader was when she found out that he had his own book!
The Song Caster is a novella all about adventure! Our dear Jackillean doesn't want to marry until he's had one last adventure, so he's on the road with the most unusual of companions, Benedeck from The Stone Kingdom. Together, they go in search of a princess for Benedeck.
Along the way, Gant-O'-the-Lute finds something that could destroy the world in the right hands. We discover just how far one can fall under the right influence.
This novella is about love, adventure, and starting and breaking spells. It's everything you ever wanted in a fairy tale! Just when you think The Wilderhark series can't get any better, we're given The Song Caster!
**I was given an ARC, and I have provided my unbiased review of the novel I was gifted.**
The Song Caster is a lovely addition to The Wildherhark Tales with the familiar humor, adventure, and romance. Characters from the past return to find their happily ever afters--that is, if they can get past overbearing parents, midnight enchantments, and overzealous cats. Even if they do, can these fairytale adventurers survive the call of intense power and magic? Then there is that dragon...
*I wrote this review several weeks after I had read it, so this is my after book thoughts. (An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)
Shipley continues her well crafted story telling and there continues to be no dull moment in her pacing. Most of that, of course, is because of magic that brings a little trouble to our protagonists who will have to get out of them in due time. This is another great tale told by our great wordsmith. I always enjoy the different fairy tale parallels the author throws in for us to find. She even changes things up a bit to keep us on our toes. I'm still sort of hoping that she'll throw in a tale that and twist it so that I totally won't see it coming but only time shall tell. Nevertheless, I don't get tired of reading Shipley's retold fairy tales. :D
The ending is satisfying and complete. It successfully sums up the troubles the protagonists have gone through and needed to solve. It's nice and clean that leaves you with fluffy warm feelings. lol I'm going to leave it at that for you. (Working on my no spoiler review rule I've set for myself.) Lute continues to steal my heart and I'm looking forward to the next adventure Shipley has in store for her next story. Can I have it now? *makes grabby hands* lol Just kidding!